PLANS to build more than 200 homes at the site of the former Battle Hospital have been approved.

Reading Borough Council's planning committee gave the green light to the project on July 18.

The application, submitted by Bellway Homes, contains the erection of 211 dwellings, as well as the installation of play equipment and a cycle path.

Councillor Chris Maskell, chair of the committee, said: "I welcome this development. I think it fits in nicely with the existing west village and it has been a long time coming.

"We are not too far off the day when that whole area will be completed and we will have far more flats in that area.

"I am pleased with this development and I am happy to support it."

As part of the agreement, the developer will be expected to make a £54,000 contribution towards a cycleway link from the site on Portman Road to Cow Lane roundabout.

The council welcomed the level of affordable housing available, with a minimum of 50 dwellings falling into this category.

The land was retained by the NHS when the rest of the Battle Hospital site was redeveloped in 2011 and the area was identified as an important asset for meeting the demand for homes by 2036 as part of the local plan.

When the hospital closed in 2005, all of the services and patients were transferred to the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

The derelict site has seen a number of fires over the years and the developer said the area had become 'dilapidated and overgrown' in places.